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Video Game / Dr. Muto

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Why clone when you can morph?

A Platform Game released by Midway Games in 2002 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube (also ported to Game Boy Advance), Dr. Muto was the final game produced by Midway Games West (formerly known as Atari Games) before the studio shut down.

The eponymous Muto, having grown up a fledgeling-Mad Scientist nerd shunned for his dangerous or just plain disturbing experiments, sees his chance to be liked when his home planet of Midway is forced into an energy crisis by the excessive power demands of the interplanetary corporation owned by Muto's rival, Professor Burnital. The doctor designs and constructs a machine that, he says, will be able to provide free, clean energy for up to a dozen planets, and his idea is actually put through as a possible solution.

As Muto says in response to skepticism from reporters before the machine's activation, "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"

Well, as it turns out, Muto's machine was sabotaged in secret by Burnital, causing it to instead malfunction and detonate the planet mere seconds after being turned on. Whoops.

Only the doctor's laboratory survived the explosion, floating on a chunk of land in space and only kept inhabitable by the extensive life support system installed by Muto. There, he decides to create another device with the capacity to rebuild the planet, and quickly completes the design of his "Genitor". However, he's missing both the components needed to construct the machine and the special fuel to power it, both of which can be found on the many worlds controlled by Burnital Industries. Muto leaves in his teleporter to collect the stuff he needs... and perhaps get back at Burnital along the way.

This game features examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Al isn't very pleasant and sometimes withholds valuable materials until you beat a meaningless challenge.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Zigzagged since there are no Earthlings in this game to confirm that the aliens really are speaking English and not just making alien noises being translated into English.
  • Big Bad: Professor Burnital, who blew up Midway before they could be free from his grasp on their power. All of the planets Muto visits are parts of his businesses, and Muto faces Burnital's lackeys as bosses, with Burnital himself as the Final Boss.
  • Brick Joke: Much of the conflict between Muto and Burnital is about the latter insulting the former not getting a human girlfriend. In the Golden Ending, it's implied he gets one.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Burnital, who's quite the petty man as well. He's not above destroying planets for trying to free themselves from his company's energy demands.
  • Double Jump: Muto, because of his rocket boots.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Dr. Muto accidentally blows up his home planet in the opening cut-scene. The game is based around his attempts to rebuild the planet.
  • Electric Torture: Happens to the various types of Gomers especially after being shot into switches.
  • Fall Damage: If Muto falls from too great a height, he will yell "Drat" in a long and drawn out hammy manner. if there is ground for him to hit, he will be Squashed Flat, otherwise the screen will just fade out.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Muto's Double Jump is justified by him wearing Jet Boots.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Nobody likes Muto or thinks his inventions are effective and safe (usually just one or the other, and not both), but the President of Midway is prepared to ignore his advisors and back Muto's device, because he's that desperate to get his planet out from under Burnital's economic heel.
  • Hearts Are Health: Muto's hit points are measured in cartoon hearts.
  • Human Aliens: The people of Midway.
  • Humongous Mecha: Carla Squid-Kisser, the game's second boss, pilots a squid-shaped robot, and Final Boss Professor Burnital has a robot as well. It turns out the latter robot and Burnital's escape pod were built by Muto, allowing Al to send Burnital to his demise...
  • Killer Gorilla: The Doczilla morph, a storey high ape. Upgrading it turns it into a cyber storey high ape.
  • Mad Scientist: The hero, Dr. Muto.
    • This was a constant throughout his entire life, as shown in the flashbacks in the opening segment. When he was just a little toddler, he enjoyed smashing globes and often spelled out "mad" with letter blocks. His parents didn't seem to be too concerned, even calling him "[their] little madman". You can probably guess how his science fair exhibits went.
  • Multiple Endings: Based on how whether or not you collected at least 80% of all the isotopes, two endings play out:
    • Incomplete: Midway does get restored... but only as the barren rock of the planet, with no life on it besides Muto himself. Muto himself basically sees it as good enough, and gets back his experiments.
    • Complete: Midway and everything and everyone on it come back to life. It's implied that Muto becomes famous on Midway, both for restoring the planet and for freeing them from Burnital's grip on them.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Burnital Industries has control of multiple entire planets, and the reach to plunge another planet into an energy crisis, with no hint of reprisal from governments unless they can find a solution to said power issue.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Subverted, as while turning on Muto's invention did blow up Midway, the ensuing Earth-Shattering Kaboom was due to Burnital's sabotage of the machine, not Muto's incompetence.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Steele, the game's third boss, is a robot cowboy and former pop star.
  • Plot Coupon: The Genitor parts are necessary for advancing through the stages, while the Terra and isotopes are required for the Golden Ending.
  • Powered Armor: The game's first boss, Vinny Bino, sports a suit of armor styled similarly to the Power Loader.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Muto, who mutates himself into animals.
  • Rocket Boots: The reason why Muto can Double Jump. It also allows him a brief bit of hovering.
  • Shock and Awe: The stun setting of the Splizz Gun is electrical.
  • Shout-Out: After you beat a challenge on Tolsec, Al says "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Sometimes happens with Muto, such as in the intro, "What the [Bleep}!?"
  • Squashed Flat: Can happen to Muto as a result of Fall Damage. Also an instant kill.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In his human form, Muto uses floaties to stay above the water, but if he swims into an object on the surface that forces his head underwater, he will instantly drown. If he enters the water in any morph forms other than his fish form, he will drown. If he turns back into a human while underwater, he will instantly drown.
  • The Faceless: In the True Ending, we are never shown the face of the woman at the beach. She wears a yellow hat (either a baseball cap or a tassel sun hat) covers her head, so we can't quite tell what her hair even looks like.
  • Threatening Shark: The Charks on Aquem.
  • Verbal Tic: Muto usually says "Excellent!" when things are going his way.
    • He also mutters under his breath, blathers incoherently sometimes and can't seem to stop himself from swearing every once in a while.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Thus the name of the game as you gather DNA to turn yourself into different types of creatures... except for the mouse, which you start able to turn yourself into. Picking your form is USUALLY obvious, and several areas limit you to human form.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Muto says this right before turning on his device, and may have set a new standard on how possibly wrong it could go.
  • A Winner Is You: Your reward for collecting all of the Terra and most of the isotopes in the game? A shot of a large-busted woman wearing a Dr. Muto T-shirt on a beach, the exact same one used in commercials for the game.